KEIGHLEY MAN ORDERED TO PAY BACK PROCEEDS FROM COUNTERFEITING CONSPIRACY
A Keighley man who was part of a £1/2 Million counterfeiting conspiracy was today ordered to pay back £38,874.93 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by His Honour Judge Burn at Bradford Crown Court.
Stephen Carr of Carr Lane, Riddlesden, Keighley supplied counterfeit branded heat transfers to a Bradford family involved in the sale of counterfeit clothing via online sites eBay and Amazon.
The case was brought by West Yorkshire Trading Standards following a 2 year investigation into an industrial-scale screen printing operation in which the registered trademarks of leading music artists, bands and sports teams were illegally printed onto clothing and distributed globally via eBay and Amazon. Using a number of eBay and Amazon user accounts in both their own and third party names including those of their family members, the extended family generated global counterfeit sales of £472,898.09 over a 5 year period. The proceeds were then used to purchase a number of properties and high value motor vehicles. The trademarks breached included Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Motorhead, Ramones, Beyonce, 5 Seconds of Summer, Harry Potter, Ed Sheeran and Nirvana as well as a number of others.
Amar, Yasir and Qaisar Choudry of Duchy Crescent, Bradford, their brother Faisal Choudry of Duchy Drive, Bradford and their brother-in-law Mudasar Alishan of Oakdale Drive, Shipley, were each sentenced in February 2019 at Bradford Crown Court to a 2 year custodial sentence suspended for 2 years with a requirement to undertake 300 hours unpaid work. Mr Carr received an 8 month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months with a requirement to complete 180 hours unpaid work for his part in the conspiracy.
The £38,874.93 Confiscation Order made against Carr represents the extent of the contractual payments received by him for supplying heat transfers to the family, uplifted to take into account the change in the value of money since the offence was committed. He has 3 months to pay this sum or face a custodial sentence in default of 9 months.
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 proceedings are ongoing in relation to the other 5 defendants.
David Lodge, Head of Trading Standards said: “Counterfeiting has a detrimental impact on the brand, consumers and the economy. It undercuts genuine retailers and is often used to fund organised crime. It is not a victimless crime. We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who benefit from the theft of intellectual property and where we can, we will use proceeds of crime legislation so that those convicted of offences such as these can expect to have their assets identified and confiscated.
Anyone with any information about counterfeiting should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
Councillor Pauleen Grahame, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Governance and Audit Sub-Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said: “Counterfeiting harms our economy and our communities. I fully support the action taken by Trading Standards in this case which illustrates the consequences of engaging in this illicit trade.”